IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Defining the theoretical foundations of occupational rehabilitation programs involving the workplace and designed for workers with musculoskeletal disorders: a realist review


Work disability affects a large percentage of the labour force and imposes a heavy socioeconomic burden. In recent decades, a number of rehabilitation programs involving the workplace have been developed for workers with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Despite the demonstrated effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these programs, they are still not widely implemented.

One possible explanation for this low implementation rate is the fact that these programs are complex and that their implementation depends on a vast array of contextual factors (e.g. social, legal and cultural).

This study seeks to clarify the action mechanisms and active components of occupational rehabilitation programs that include a workplace-based component. The researchers will conduct a realist review aimed at understanding how the interventions work, for what reasons, and in what contexts.

Based on the results of the study, practical recommendations will be made to help professionals and practitioners improve services to workers who are absent from work due to a MSDs.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2012-0008
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2016
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Marie-José Durand (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Dominique Tremblay (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Johannes R. Anema (VU University Medical Centre)
  • Jean-Baptiste Fassier (Université de Lyon)
  • Patrick Loisel (Université de Toronto)
  • William S. Shaw (Centre for disability research)
  • Alexandra Panaccio (Université Concordia)
  • Chantal Sylvain (Université de Sherbrooke)